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5 Best Raspberry Pi Wifi adapters for you media center

Raspberry Pi Wifi adapters can help reduce clutter and help bring content to your XBMC (nka Kodi Entertainment Center) wirelessly. As we have previously written, there are 4 different Raspberry Pi OS that are media center focused. We have shown you how to install OpenELEC and Raspbmc the normal way and also using New Out of Box Software. [Read: Raspbmc vs OpenELEC comparison revisited in 2014]

Whether you using OpenELEC, Raspbmc, or Xbian on Raspberry Pi B or the newer Raspberry Pi B+, these Raspberry Pi USB Wifi adapters should help reduce the wires and make your Kodi Entertainment Center more “wife-friendly” :-).

Best Raspberry Pi Wifi Adapters 2014

Raspberry Pi Wifi Adapters

Understand that a Raspberry Pi Wifi dongle does not come close to the reliability and performance of a wired connection. Even though wireless adapters are rated at a higher speed (with Wireless N) than the 100 mbps Ethernet that is available on RPi, real-world conditions (interference) reduces the performance of USB wireless cards. But I run two of my RPis wirelessly and have had absolutely no problems streaming content wirelessly to my XBMC media center. Just make sure you have a good wireless router and implement our strategies to fix XBMC buffering issues on Raspberry Pi.

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eLinux.org has a big list of compatible Raspberry Pi Wifi adapters and we have even reviewed many Linux-compatible wireless adapters. I tried a few of them and listed below are the ones that I thought worked well with Raspberry Pi and didn’t break my wallet.

Note: All adapters were tested at the time of writing this article. The driver support and/or the hardware may have been revised. Therefore, use this post for guidance but do you your due diligence before purchasing. Also, read the comments to learn from other’s experiences.

1. Panda PAU05 Wireless-N USB Adapter

panda-pau05-wifi-adapterI am currently using this Raspberry Pi Wifi adapter and all I can say is it is awesome. I am able to stream HD content wirelessly without any performance issues. But I have also implemented these Raspberry Pi performance tweaks, which may be helping with that. Key features of this adapter include:

  • Works with 2.4 GHz Wireless g/n
  • Max speeds up to 300 Mbps
  • Multi-OS support including Linux
  • Security: WPA2/WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP) WEP 64, 128-bit

2. Panda PAU06 Wireless-N USB Adapter

panda-pau06-wifi-adapterI can’t imagine this USB wireless adapter being very different from the first one as they are both practically the same. The only difference is that this Raspberry Pi Wifi adapter has an external antenna to boost signal reception. Other key features include:

  • Works with 2.4 GHz Wireless g/n
  • Max speeds up to 300 Mbps
  • Multi-OS support including Linux
  • Security: WPA2/WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP) WEP 64, 128-bit

3. Wi-Pi Raspberry Pi 802.11n Wireless Adapter

wipi-wifi-adapterThis is the official Raspberry Pi USB Wireless adapter from Element 14, the makers of Raspberry Pi. Therefore it is guaranteed to work and it is no surprise that it is one of the highest rated Wifi adapter for Raspberry Pi. Features include:

  • Works with 2.4 GHz Wireless g/n
  • Max speeds up to 150 Mbps
  • Multi-OS support including Linux
  • Security: WPA2/WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP) WEP 64, 128-bit

4. Edimax EW-7811Un 150M 11n Wi-Fi USB Adapter

edimax-wifi-adapterIf you prefer a “nano” sized Wireless adapter for RPi then this might be it. At the time of compiling this list, it is also one of the cheapest Raspberry Pi Wifi adapters in 2014. Features include:

  • Works with 2.4 GHz Wireless g/n
  • Max speeds up to 150 Mbps
  • Multi-OS support including Linux
  • Security: WPA2/WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP) WEP 64, 128-bit

5. AirLink101 AWLL6075 Wireless N Mini USB Adapter

airlink-6075-wifi-adapterI have had positive experience with this Raspberry Pi wifi adapter. Just plugin, wait for a few seconds, and that is it; you are now ready to connect to your wireless network. Key features include:

  • Works with 2.4 GHz Wireless g/n
  • Max speeds up to 300 Mbps
  • Multi-OS support including Linux
  • Security: WPA2/WPA-PSK (AES, TKIP) WEP 64, 128-bit

Note that none of the above best Raspberry Pi Wifi adapters in 2014 work well with 5GHz band or Wireless AC. On the good side, all the media center operating systems for Raspberry Pi make it very easy to connect to wireless networks using these RPi Wifi adapters. All you have to do is choose your wireless network and enter the passkey. {Read: 8 Raspberry Pi OpenELEC tweaks to do after installation]

Wireless adapters are one of 7 Raspberry Pi accessories I have recommended in the past. But remember that using a Wifi adapter reduces USB ports available for other uses. This is not a problem if you are using the newer Raspberry Pi B+ revision which as 4 USB ports. So if you want to go Wireless on your Kodi media center you wouldn’t go wrong by choosing from any of the above 5 best Raspberry Pi Wifi adapters.

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About the author

Anand

Anand is a self-learned computer enthusiast, a part-time blogger, and a Food Scientist by career. He has been blogging since 2010 on Linux, Ubuntu, Home/Media/File Servers, Smart Home Automation, and related HOW-TOs on htpcbeginner.com and smarthomebeginner.com.

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